Micah 6:9-16 - The Lord Speaks
I will be honest with you this morning. I found myself struggling with this text. It is not because it is complicated or unclear. On the contrary, it is straight forward and easy to understand.
My struggle with this text was that it again returns to talking about sin and the judgment that is to follow. I found myself resisting this text and wishing that I did not have to preach it today. I found myself asking the question, “Is there any other text I could preach today?” I will also admit to you that it is precisely because of how I felt this week that as a church we value going systematically through a book. It would be far too easy to skip portions of scriptures if this were not a commitment of ours.
The voice of the Lord cries to the city— and it is sound wisdom to fear your name: “Hear of the rod and of him who appointed it! 10 Can I forget any longer the treasures of wickedness in the house of the wicked, and the scant measure that is accursed? 11 Shall I acquit the man with wicked scales and with a bag of deceitful weights? 12 Your rich men are full of violence; your inhabitants speak lies, and their tongue is deceitful in their mouth. 13 Therefore I strike you with a grievous blow, making you desolate because of your sins. 14 You shall eat, but not be satisfied, and there shall be hunger within you; you shall put away, but not preserve, and what you preserve I will give to the sword. 15 You shall sow, but not reap; you shall tread olives, but not anoint yourselves with oil; you shall tread grapes, but not drink wine. 16 For you have kept the statutes of Omri, and all the works of the house of Ahab; and you have walked in their counsels, that I may make you a desolation, and your inhabitants a hissing; so you shall bear the scorn of my people.”
As I read this text I wondered if I could skip ahead to chapter 7 and preach it? But I looked ahead and chapter seven begins in a similar fashion. In fact, consider what the prophet says in Micah 7:13, “But the earth will be desolate because of its inhabitants, for the fruit of their deeds.”
I could skip all the way to Micah 7:18-20 and preach upon these amazing words, “Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity and passing over transgression for the remnant of His inheritance? He does not retain His anger forever, because He delights in steadfast love. He will again have compassion on us; he will tread our iniquities underfoot. You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea. You will show faithfulness to Jacob and steadfast love to Abraham, as you have sworn to our fathers from the days of old.”
Let me give you a couple reasons why it continues to be a good thing for us to consider our text today.
First, we will not appreciate gospel texts like Micah 7:18-20 if we do not see the need for them because of our sin, transgressions, and iniquities. Jesus said in Luke 7:47, “But he who is forgiven little, loves little.”
The second reason that passages such of these are worth our time and attention is because God knows the depth of our sin more than we will ever be aware of it. As such, He has provided the cure and the remedy for our sin.
He is able to heal us of our sin completely, fully, totally, utterly and wholly.
The apostle Paul says in 1 Timothy 1:15-17, “The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display His perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in Him for eternal life.”
Why are we still having to deal with entire passages about sin and judgment at this point in Micah? 1
Timothy 1:15-17 gave us a few reasons.
Because God is a God of mercy and we are saved not on our own merits but by the Lord’s mercy and grace (Micah 6:8; Ephesians 2:1-10).
Because this displays God’s great patience. He could judge them right now and give them no further opportunities to repent.
Sinclair Ferguson discusses in his book “The Christian Life” the process by which men are saved saying, “Effectual calling is seen to be something which often extends over a period of time. It is also true that in the history of the church effectual calling has at times been regarded as synonymous with regeneration. Consequently it has been thought of as a sudden work of God. Perhaps this where the old idea of ‘awakening’ helps us to grasp the picture more clearly. Someone rouses us out of a deep slumber, and their voice penetrates our subconsciousness. We stir within, and then become aware of a distant disturbance. We fight against it, seeking the tranquility of sleep – but it has penetrated our senses. Gradually we become aware of ourselves, of our circumstances, and eventually of the identity of the one who has called us. For many people a religious ‘awakening’ is exactly like this. It can be a profoundly disturbing experience.”
Thirdly, Paul says that these things become an example for us for our benefit. What is something that we can learn? Is it not contained in Paul’s final words, “...who were to believe in Him for eternal life.” As sinners we have one hope and one faith. Eternal life is only found in Jesus Christ and we are granted eternal life only through faith and belief in Him and His work. We place no confidence in the flesh.
I had mentioned earlier that Micah 6:9-16 is not complicated. The structure of this passage is straightforward and clear. Scholars all agree that it breaks down in the following manner.
v.9 is the address
vv. 10-12 is the accusation
vv. 13-15 is the sentence of condemnation
v.16 recapitulates the accusation (16a) and the condemnation (16b)
I will not spend a lot of time discussing the specifics of each of these verses. I would simply like to focus in upon one aspect of this text. It has been the most noticeable (eye-catching, remarkable and striking) aspect of this text for me this week as I have looked at this text.
It is found in Micah 6: 9, “The voice of the LORD cries to the city – and it is sound wisdom to fear your name: ‘Hear the rod and of him who appointed it!’”